Former Santa Monica Mayor Dies in Plane Crash at 95

By Jorge Casuso

December 25, 2022 — Former Santa Monica Mayor Rex Minter died Thursday after the small single-engine plane he was a passenger in crash-landed south of the Pier. hey what 95

Minter — who was elected to the City Council in 1955 when he was 27 and served as mayor from 1963 to 1967 — died at a local hospital after he and the pilot were extricated from the plane by paramedics.

Rex Minter
Rex Minter (Courtesy Santa Monica Image Archives)
According to the FAA, the Cessna 150 flipped over after landing on the beach south of the pier at around 3:15 pm

The pilot, who survived the crash, reported engine trouble after leaving Santa Monica Airport.

The independent aviation site AV Web reported that “the pilot requested a return to (the airport) just after takeoff, citing a rough-running engine.

“He was trying to line up on Runway 3 but told the tower he couldn’t make the field and was heading for the beach,” the website reported.

“The tide was going out and there was a wide swath of hard-packed sand the pilot might have been aiming for but (the plane) settled in the breakers.”

Video footage shows the plane nose-diving and flipping near the water line, as bystanders, one some 20 feet away, watched. No one on the beach was injured, City officials said.

LA County lifeguards, police harbor guards and firefighters quickly responded to the scene at the 1800 block of the beach, City officials said.

A subsequent statement from the City Thursday reported Minter’s death.

“The City of Santa Monica mourns the passing of former Mayor Rex H. Minter (1927 – 2022), and we send our deepest condolences to his children, grandchildren, family members, and his many friends throughout Santa Monica,” the statement said.

After serving on the City Council from 1955 to 1967, Minter was City Attorney for the City of Arcadia and served as a judge for the Los Angeles County Superior Court.

“Minter met his wife Doris while they both attended Santa Monica High School,” the City’s statement said. “He served in the US Marines and opened a law practice in Santa Monica after finishing law school.

“He was active in the Santa Monica Rotary Club and, along with his wife, was an avid aviator. They were residents of the Sunset Park neighborhood.”

In a 2006 profile in the Santa Monica Mirror, Minter recalled the Council was made up of “mostly senior citizens” when he was elected. “I was the kid on the block,” he said.

Minter recalled that “he was swept into office by a wave of opposition to oil drilling in the Santa Monica Bay, which was the ‘big issue’ in the mid-1950’s,” the Mirror wrote.

“As that issue subsided, the Council became concerned with redeveloping Ocean Park, mainly clearing away the beach cottages which had become, in Minter’s words, ‘slums’ and building the Shores.”

During Minter’s tenure, the Council also focused on building the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, as well as City-owned parking lots and parking structures.

Minter also tackled the persistent problem of lengthy Council meetings by attempting to curb closed sessions, he told the Mirror.

“They went into closed session. . . ostensibly to get anonymity, to put on a good face to the public,” he said. “I objected to that but they didn’t care. . . so I filed a lawsuit against the City Council.”

The lawsuit led to a settlement with the City agreeing “to have open sessions except for those closed sessions permitted by the Brown Act,” according to the report

Jim Reidy, who served on the Council while Minter was mayor, told the Mirror his colleague “wasn’t afraid to make decisions.

“Sometimes you have to make decisions that don’t make everyone happy but are necessary for the [common] good. He could make that kind of decision,” said Reidy, who died last year.

Flags in front of City Hall will be lowered to half-staff and a City Council meeting in the new year will be adjourned in honor of Minter’s service, City officials said.

Comments are closed.